A summer of miscalculation; a winter of failure

Jonathan Willis
March 09 2013 11:56AM

The Edmonton Oilers 2013 season did not fall apart during a nine-game road trip. The nine-game road trip was simply the point in the season when a summer of inept management finally caught up to the team.

Forwards

Some of the pain here was an unavoidable part of rebuilding through the draft. Decisions to employ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as the team’s top-line forward (an often overlooked weakness entering the season) and to try Nail Yakupov as the second line’s left wing were understandable, perhaps even unavoidable. Nugent-Hopkins’ inexperience means that he would be better suited to a lesser role on a contending team, but he is the best option at the Oilers’ disposal for a top-line job. Yakupov’s left-handed shot, a desire to get him on to a skill line, and the team’s weakness at left wing after Taylor Hall also made a cameo in that position an understandable gamble (particularly given Yakupov’s success in the role in Russia). It is a gamble that has not worked out so far, as the positional change may well have increased the difficulty of Yakupov’s transition to NHL play.

Other errors were unforced. The decisions to re-sign Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk added a pair of 5-on-5 liabilities to a bottom-six group that didn’t need more players incapable of moving the puck in the right direction. The decision not to bring in a second-line left wing to add a capable veteran and force a guy like Ryan Smyth, Magnus Paajarvi or Teemu Hartikainen into a third line role opposite Yakupov on the other wing was another error.

While the root of these problems goes back to the summer, it seems likely the Oilers aren’t even aware of some of them. The decision to spend a fourth-round pick on Mike Brown – fine in his role, but terrible at adding 5-on-5 offence (the Oilers biggest weakness) when plausible options like Simon Gagne (dealt to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick) or Dustin Penner (in the doghouse and rumoured to be cheap) was understandable but wrong-headed. Brown scores high in areas where Penner has been long-criticized, but in just 15 games in a bad season Penner is within a point of matching Brown’s career-best offensive production. Intangibles do matter – but tangibles matter too, and the fact is that the Oilers went shopping for a fourth-line guy who could punch people even as their team struggled to generate any kind of offence. That is not a criticism of Brown, who I actually like; it is a criticism of a management team that was picking out drapes while the house burned down.

Defence

Justin Schultz personifies both the best and worst of the Oilers’ blue line. On the positive side, he’s a sublimely skilled offensive defenceman, a great fit for the team long-term and was a massive windfall for the Oilers when he chose Edmonton in the summer. On the negative side, the fact that Justin Schultz, rookie pro, is the Oilers’ number one defenceman says everything about the state of the blue line.

It was obvious in the summer that the only prudent course of action was to add another defender – and despite the fact that the best options were signed early, players like Michal Rozsival stayed unsigned until September while Chris Campoli eventually had to relocate to Europe. Ideally, the Oilers would have competed for one of the better options out there; instead they failed even to make a basic insurance signing.

They’re paying for it now. Ryan Whitney’s unsurprising struggles, the inability of Justin Schultz and veteran second-pairing guy Nick Schultz to handle the opposition’s best, along with the ups and downs of a still-young Petry/Smid tandem have been the deserved result of an unwillingness to address a problem visible in the summer months.

Elsewhere

The Oilers made it clear as early as April that they were comfortable with a Devan Dubnyk/Nikolai Khabibulin duo, despite the fact that buying out Khabibulin and bringing in a reliable backup was a viable option. Dubnyk – despite some rough individual outings – has performed well, but Khabibulin unsurprisingly has spent most of the season on injured reserve, which in turn has forced Ralph Krueger to lean heavily on Dubnyk, who has started six games in nine days. The Oilers are already within a point of last place, and are one Dubnyk injury away from being comically overmatched by the NHL as a whole.

The jury is still out on Ralph Krueger, the fourth coach of Steve Tambellini’s run as general manager. I like some of the things he’s done, but at times he’s seemed overmatched and despite his eloquence and the clear loyalty of his players his reluctance to play a line-matching game may be costing the Oilers. Jon Cooper, meanwhile, continues to run the most successful team in the AHL.

The reader may notice an abundance of links in the piece above; the reason for that is to establish that this isn’t simply looking in hindsight and spotting things that seem obvious now. Many of the mistakes made by the Oilers management group are mistakes that should have been evident long before now, mistakes that could have been avoided with a little foresight and a little action back in June, July and August. The Oilers management group deserves a team with the record this one has.

They also deserve to pay the price of failure, a price they haven’t hesitated to visit upon players, coaches, and lower levels of management within the organization: dismissal.

Update: To be clear, not all of the Oilers' problems were forseeable. For example, the run of injuries at centre, and the shooting percentage struggles of the top line have hurt the team badly, and neither was a predictable problem. With teams as close as they are, my personal belief is that it takes some things going wrong to end up at the bottom of the pile, and that's happened in Edmonton. But those unforseen problems would have had less impact if visible problems had been addressed earlier. JW.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 Robin Brownlee
March 09 2013, 07:01PM
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"The reader may notice an abundance of links in the piece above; the reason for that is to establish that this isn’t simply looking in hindsight and spotting things that seem obvious now. Many of the mistakes made by the Oilers management group are mistakes that should have been evident long before now, mistakes that could have been avoided with a little foresight and a little action back in June, July and August. The Oilers management group deserves a team with the record this one has."

Difficult not to notice. What, a dozen links citing and referencing your own work?

Like I said here . . . Like I told you here . . . I saw this coming here . . . I told you so here . . .

This item, without any doubt, establishes a benchmark for self-congratulation, Jonathan. Well done.

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#3 Jay
March 10 2013, 10:14AM
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Reagan wrote:

Boys I sure missed an interesting fanfare yesterday... I just hope some of the core issues are dealt with over the summer and I can leave the paper bag on the closet.

Whoa now, calm down! Pump the brakes a little bit! This summer is not the time to be dealing with core issues. What we need to do is use next year to assess and evaluate.

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#5 justDOit
March 09 2013, 12:47PM
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a lg dubl dubl wrote:

Id add Eberle and RNH to that list.

Id also be willing to trade Yakupov and this years 1st for Perry.

I hope you mean in a 'sign and trade'. Otherwise a massive overpayment for a UFA.

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#6 Jeffff
March 09 2013, 12:56PM
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The untouchables appear to be Oilers management.

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#7 David S
March 09 2013, 03:17PM
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[Sorry in advance guys but I'm gonna piss a few people off with this one.]

Who in their right mind would have expected our "top line" to have a shooting percentage anywhere near sustainably decent when the entire trio is younger than alot of guys on the Oil Kings? They're one dimensional, therefore easy to strategize against and not nearly mature enough to handle the constant pounding that line is subjected to nightly going up against opposing top lines. As it stands right now they're getting the crap kicked out of them and as a result both Hall and Nuge may now be playing injured.

This whole narrative of "Management is incompetent! - FIRE THEM ALL!" sounds pretty good and is alot of fun (I tweeted the exact thing last night). It's also a handy tool that allows bloggers and keyboard GM's to pat themselves on the back having somehow mystically gleaned team weaknesses last summer that guys who actually get paid to do so "apparently" missed.

Right.

Our company works with the same firm the Oilers use - Darkhorse at the U of A. They (the Oilers) are heavy into analytics. I don't work with the Darkhorse team directly, but their forward looking situation projection and analysis is uncannily accurate. You think you're good at parsing stats? These guys are freaking Jedi masters by comparison.

It's more than a little likely management knew full well this team wasn't going anywhere all along. In fact, I'd bet some serious cash they counted on it. Think about it. Part-timers and blog heroes can figure out there's massive holes in the lineup and guys who've been intimately involved in the sport for decades can't? You really believe that? C'mon. One key piece goes down, the whole team goes to sh!t and not a thing is done to rectify the situation? *SHOCKER*

Look, I don't know the real plan any more than any of you guys. But my guess is when Horcoff went down the team was presented with a golden opportunity to go for another high pick, which will be used in combination with existing high-value assets (i.e. Gagner, Hemsky) to fill in the missing pieces. On top of which we have scads of cap room. Chances are the current bottom six, half our D and at least one goalie will not be here next year.

The Oilers will be damn busy the next six months. Book it. With respect to Tambellini, he's a patsy and would have been fired by now if he wasn't doing EXACTLY what Lowe and Katz wanted. To that end my money is on MacT taking over the GM reigns in the very near future.

You know who I feel really bad for? The players. Check out the latest post-game interviews on the team site. That's the first time I've seen Ladi Smid with not a whiff of positivity. He looks absolutely defeated. I don't want to think everybody else feels like. They're in the midst of a full-on tank job. They know it and there's jack they can do about it.

Wonder why the team looks completely unmotivated alot of the time? They're being asked to play far above their abilities and get the living hell kicked out of them doing so. That is simply not a sustainable state of mind for any athlete.

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#8 Todd
March 09 2013, 04:38PM
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DSF wrote:

The team is getting worse....not better.

Toronto has been improving steadily.

As you may recall, you made a bet with me that the Oilers goal differential this season would be much better than last season's -27.

Pro-rated over 82 games, the Oiler's goal differential this season is on pace for -58.

@DSF - Honest question, why do you post on this website? I'm assuming just because you get some sort of joy from life in wasting hours of your day(s) bagging on the Oilers team. I don't really care, good for you, but I'm honestly wondering why you do it? Everyone else appears to be fans of the team, which is a logical way to waste someone's personal time. Just wondering.

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#9 DSF
March 09 2013, 04:49PM
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Todd wrote:

@DSF - Honest question, why do you post on this website? I'm assuming just because you get some sort of joy from life in wasting hours of your day(s) bagging on the Oilers team. I don't really care, good for you, but I'm honestly wondering why you do it? Everyone else appears to be fans of the team, which is a logical way to waste someone's personal time. Just wondering.

Quite simple really.

I was an Oilers fan from their first day in the WHA and a season ticket holder for many, many years until driven away by the incompetence of management.

My fondest hope is that we may soon see an end to the guy who drove the team into the toilet and, until that happens, I don't have a problem with pointing out what I see as his innumerable mistakes.

Whether other "fans" like it or not is not one of my concerns.

You know, I just watched the CLB/DET game where an injury riddled Columbus team out worked the Wings for 60 minutes and were awarded with a very long standing ovation from their fans. (almost 18,000 of them).

While the Jackets have also suffered a long time being mismanaged, they also have taken the steps necessary to fix the problem by hiring Davidson and Kelkaleinen.

With 3 first round picks in their arsenal this season, I would wager a fair amount that the Jackets will make the playoffs before the Oilers.

When you consider the Oilers have picked in the top 10 so many times in the last few years, that is just sad.

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#10 blue31
March 09 2013, 12:30PM
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MAC962 wrote:

UNTOUCHABLES. i will go first, feel free to add to the list.

1. Taylor Hall

I think you have them all covered right there.

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#11 DSF
March 09 2013, 12:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I'd put an interim G.M. in charge now (probably MacTavish) and do a proper search for a full-time replacement in the summer. Assistant general managers Julien BriseBois (TB), Paul Fenton (NSH), Laurence Gilman (VAN), Jason Botterill (PIT), Jim Nill (DET) and Joe Will (SJ) are the half-dozen or so that immediately come to mind for a short list.

Do an interview with each and a few others - internal candidates as well as external ones I'm forgetting right now - ask them to put together a tentative two-three year plan to turn the team into a contender, have a second interview with the best ones and then make a decision.

I'd be interested in your take on Brian Burke taking over.

He has a pretty good track record of taking moribund franchises and turning them into contenders.

Despite running afoul of the new overlords in the Vatican, the team he built in Toronto, while still somewhat flawed, is having pretty good success and comes to play every night.

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#12 Oilcruzer
March 09 2013, 01:48PM
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Reagan wrote:

A big package needs to be created to bring some real NHL talent in. It may not hurt so much to trade one of the big for hopefuls for a chance to build success.

"bring some real NHL talent in"

WTH?

This team is stacked with talent that needs a little seasoning and line support/tinkering.

A bad couple games is not a bad team.

Wasn't it just a month ago that Toronto was the 43 year joke? Did they get a new team in 4 weeks?

The bad is never as bad as it seems... but it could get "badder" by making dumb moves.

Trading the farm is just.... wow.

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#13 John Chambers
March 09 2013, 02:19PM
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DSF wrote:

Remember when Burke said Lowe would run the Oilers into the ground?

He was right.

I'm sure Burke would only take the reins if Lowe was fired, as he should be.

This is his mess to wear.

I think it was 'run the team into the toilet' to be precise.

Thing is - the Oilers have lots of good pieces. The raw materials are almost all there. Problem is theres nobody competent to assemble it all together.

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#14 StHenriOilBomb
March 09 2013, 12:11PM
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DISMISSAL!

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#15 Matt F
March 09 2013, 12:18PM
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Can't believe you put Ricky's picture up there... Ricky is impeccable

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#16 stevezie
March 09 2013, 12:19PM
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Wow, was that ever on the nose.

You could have added the curious refusal to address Horcoff and Lander going down. It's one thing if you can't upgrade on Belanger for the third line, but this team didn't even try to fin a better option than VDV for the fourth. Mike Ziggomanis was that expensive?

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#17 BigE91
March 09 2013, 12:30PM
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Fans might be able to accept many of the current shortcomings if there was any effort at all to solve them. Instead management has spent the past three years drafting the same small type of player and doing next to nothing in terms of providing some balance in the top 6. I genuinely think the bottom six would be fine if there wasn't so much pressure on them to be more than what they are. Same with Dubnyk, the team is bleeding chances and yes he gives up more than the occaisional weak goal in this stretch but he basically has to be ready for anything and can't trust the guys in from of him to fill lanes and take away shots that shouldn't even be getting to the net.

In truth Jonathon I think this is more than just one summer of inaction or miscalculation it's a combination of past three. There should be some discernable improvement here and there isn't and now the "top 6" couldn't put the puck in the ocean, they aren't moving their legs and trying to draw penalties, they are waiting for everything to come to them. It isn't going to.

Against Detroit we watched as Zetterberg put his stick through the legs of Mike Brown, poke the puck away and upend #13. No call. Why, because Zetterberg has earned the benefit of the doubt from the officials. (I'm not saying this is right, but it is the way the NHL works.) Had that been RNH on Darren Helm, 93 would have been in the box lightning quick.

This team needs to get over all the great press they've gotten the past 2 years and flat out out work some teams.

A couple years ago everyone was trumpeting H.O.P.E., with Omark gone I would submit that has changed to Hall, Yakupov, Pajaarvi, Eberle otherwise known as H.Y.P.E. and until this group steps up that's all it is is HYPE because they aren't showing the drive to be anything more.

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#18 Rod from Viking
March 09 2013, 12:33PM
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I'm not sure why so many are crapping on the Mike Brown trade, he is the only player that knows his role and I think he is a really good 4th liner. The problem is most of the rest bottom six except for Horchoff and Jones.I don't think it will be possible to fix anything until this summer,we will be able to trade some of the players for picks at the deadline and some will be FA's and hopefully at least one buy out and retirement. We then could be a real player in the market this summer(remember the cap problems a lot of teams will have) I hope this is the plan.

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#19 Pharmboy
March 09 2013, 12:55PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

I'm not sure why so many are crapping on the Mike Brown trade, he is the only player that knows his role and I think he is a really good 4th liner. The problem is most of the rest bottom six except for Horchoff and Jones.I don't think it will be possible to fix anything until this summer,we will be able to trade some of the players for picks at the deadline and some will be FA's and hopefully at least one buy out and retirement. We then could be a real player in the market this summer(remember the cap problems a lot of teams will have) I hope this is the plan.

I'm not too sure there really is a plan. Maybe you should fax that in to the Oilers office, and please add the hiring of Ruff as well if ya could, thanks.

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#20 a lg dubl dubl
March 09 2013, 12:57PM
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justDOit wrote:

I hope you mean in a 'sign and trade'. Otherwise a massive overpayment for a UFA.

LOL yea Id definitly do the sign and trade, but with Dithers at the steering wheel I could see him trade for Perry then let him go to FA.

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#21 Rama Lama
March 09 2013, 12:57PM
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DSF wrote:

I'd be interested in your take on Brian Burke taking over.

He has a pretty good track record of taking moribund franchises and turning them into contenders.

Despite running afoul of the new overlords in the Vatican, the team he built in Toronto, while still somewhat flawed, is having pretty good success and comes to play every night.

I think it's safe to say BB was the architect to the success the Leafs are currently having.

Yea I support this .........how about " we want Brian Burke" at the next Oilers Game.

That would be halarious at the game and send a much needed message to Katz and company.

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#22 John Chambers
March 09 2013, 01:02PM
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Everybody is looking at it through sh!t-colored glasses today. Understandably so.

The team will need a bottom-six and defense overhaul this off-season. It would be wrong to shop RNH or Eberle out of frustration. Veteran players, role players, competent depth players - have to be the targets. Guys able to play through tough periods and game stretches. Hall is my favorite Oiler in two decades, but he is not ready for the C.

Two possible landlines ahead though are: a) management buys out Horcoff without replacing his leadership and defensive acumen, or b) Yakupov gets traded to fill holes, well in advance of realizing his professional potential and by extension full value.

It'll get better - but a new culture of true accountability must be the imperative.

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#23 Ken
March 09 2013, 01:03PM
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The entertainment value of this team is reflected in the 2 drunks they have for a TV broadcast crew and goes down from there.

Katz cannot be pleased

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#24 Rod from Viking
March 09 2013, 01:10PM
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Ken wrote:

The entertainment value of this team is reflected in the 2 drunks they have for a TV broadcast crew and goes down from there.

Katz cannot be pleased

They are brutal, who else would want to follow this team around(I would be drinking heavy too)

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#25 DSF
March 09 2013, 01:43PM
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In other news...the sad sack CLB Blue jackets lead the Detroit Red Wings 3-0 late in the second period.

In about an hour, the Oilers will be 15th in the W.C.

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#26 DSF
March 09 2013, 01:44PM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

A trip out to the barn would fix who would answer to who.

Remember when Burke said Lowe would run the Oilers into the ground?

He was right.

I'm sure Burke would only take the reins if Lowe was fired, as he should be.

This is his mess to wear.

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#27 Butters
March 09 2013, 01:52PM
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Here are some problems as I see it. The Oilers have too many young kids thrust into roles that they are not ready for. Their veteran players are just not good enough anymore or are injured so there is little choice.

I would bet dollars to donuts Eberle has a hand injury and Nuge's shoulder is acting up.

The defense is also not good enough. Junior Schultz is too inexperienced to lead the d corps.

Other teams trap the @#%& out of the Oilers so they can't use their speed.

Talk of trading any of the best 5 is ridiculous. The only redudancy the Oilers have is at RW. I love, but would trade Hemsky before Yak or Ebs.

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#28 Wäx Män Riley
March 09 2013, 02:01PM
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DevoKnows wrote:

"Id add Eberle and RNH to that list."

Be careful, this team needs to get stronger and grittier in the top lines. RNH clearly shows he's very weak and doesn't like the rough going

I don't know about that. Check out the one good thing that happened last nigh:

RNH's hit on Shea Weber . Click the button on the right under hits. You will see Hopkins on Weber.

Gives me a bit of hope anyway.

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#29 John Chambers
March 09 2013, 02:28PM
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@Saytalk

I dunno, I think Quebec would take a mulligan on that Sundin for Wendel Clark trade. Still turned out pretty good for them tho.

That's the problem - it will take some time to realize these players' potential and the fans have already been waiting.

Ebs is a magnificent player and you'd hate to give away a guy who could score 250 goals as an Oiler - but his contract more than anything might limit our flexibility.

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#30 Pharmboy
March 09 2013, 03:22PM
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Klefbom? Any hope he can be Pronger-like in his first year in the NHL coming off injury? Didn't think so, this really isn't looking good.

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#31 steve
March 09 2013, 03:37PM
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Krueger coaches to defend not to play offense as he did while he was the Swiss head coach. Get off this bull crap about the offense will come, this guys is sinking the offensive players. How does Eberle/Hall/Schultz all have well over a PPG average in the AHL and come to Edmonton and suddenly lose the offense???? Krueger goes, and so does the guy who hired 4 coaches in his tenure. Otherwise if they dont clean up management, this team is doomed and I will not be watching this junk.

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#32 Quicksilver ballet
March 09 2013, 05:30PM
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DSF wrote:

Quite simple really.

I was an Oilers fan from their first day in the WHA and a season ticket holder for many, many years until driven away by the incompetence of management.

My fondest hope is that we may soon see an end to the guy who drove the team into the toilet and, until that happens, I don't have a problem with pointing out what I see as his innumerable mistakes.

Whether other "fans" like it or not is not one of my concerns.

You know, I just watched the CLB/DET game where an injury riddled Columbus team out worked the Wings for 60 minutes and were awarded with a very long standing ovation from their fans. (almost 18,000 of them).

While the Jackets have also suffered a long time being mismanaged, they also have taken the steps necessary to fix the problem by hiring Davidson and Kelkaleinen.

With 3 first round picks in their arsenal this season, I would wager a fair amount that the Jackets will make the playoffs before the Oilers.

When you consider the Oilers have picked in the top 10 so many times in the last few years, that is just sad.

I'm inclined to agree with you DSF, but where would we be today with a little stronger management group? We would probably be stuck forever in that 15-20th overall range, me thinks.

Players were avoiding Edmonton like the plague, players whom ended up here made all sots of excuses why they had to leave. Lowe made plenty of mistakes i'll give you that, but bringing in Tambellini to drive this team face first into the mud so it could be rebuilt wasn't one of them. Katz and Lowe have only decided to build a hockey team that other players will want to come and be apart of.

Fans will get their pound of flesh when Steve Tambellini is relieved of his front man position in a few weeks. Equiping Lowe with 6 or 7 premium prospects (4 14 19 64 93 along with Jones or Drouin) will hopefully make him a better GM again. As long as he's learned from his past mistakes we should be okay.

As fans we have little/no say in this matter.

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#33 Ales Hallsky
March 09 2013, 08:05PM
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These guys are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked

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#35 G Money
March 09 2013, 09:46PM
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Back slightly more on topic, I was mulling on the importance of the supporting cast, specifically the 2nd and 3rd D pairings and the 3rd and 4th lines.

I'm trying to recall the Oilers lines during their SCF run. The 3/4 lines and 4-7 D were: Moreau Peca Pisani Torres Murray Harvey Staios, Smith, MAB, Greene, Tarnstrom (correct me if I'm wrong)

Just a mental exercise ... what would this years Oiler team do with (in their primes) lines of Moreau/Peca/Pisani at #3 and Torres/Horc/Harski at #4, and Staios/Smith as the #2 defensive pairing?

Imagine if Moreau/Peca/Pisani/Smith/Staios were out there hard-matching the other teams #1 line, while the RNH and Gagner lines faced the weaker competition, and the #4 lines only job was to hit people and not give up soft goals?

One can dream.

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#36 outdoorzguy
March 09 2013, 09:53PM
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Lets not forget that as a youngster, the Oilers where Katz's favourite team. He made lots of money. Then, he decided that instead of buying hockey cards, he could buy the actual players and put them in a position to be close to him. Kind of like real life cardboard cutouts!! He's not going to fire anybody. BUT HE SHOULD!! And they have the brains of cardboard cutouts.

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#37 wiseguy
March 10 2013, 11:38AM
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outdoorzguy wrote:

I think I have this figured out. Who do we always see up on stage at the draft helping with the first overall pick? Katz's son!! Katz doesn't do anything about this mess because he lives vicariously through his kid who he parades out onto the stage at every draft. Imagine that kid going to university classes year after year telling all his buddies he just came back from another NHL draft and met another first pick. How much fun is that!! No need to change a thing, what a great dad.

More frightening is that I think Katz bought the team for his son for a birthday gift as an upgrade to playing gm mode on NHL 2007. Little Katz is making all the final decisions on all the trades and signings. It's the only thing that makes sense.

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#38 outdoorzguy
March 10 2013, 11:44AM
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wiseguy wrote:

More frightening is that I think Katz bought the team for his son for a birthday gift as an upgrade to playing gm mode on NHL 2007. Little Katz is making all the final decisions on all the trades and signings. It's the only thing that makes sense.

I like it, lol!!!

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#39 Rama Lama
March 09 2013, 12:12PM
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FIST......still not sure what that is.

Like I said before, except for offence, defence, and goaltending, we are pretty good.

This whole scenario with the Oilers is so utterly predictible and will continue to be so until Lowe and Tamby are replaced.

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#40 TonyT
March 09 2013, 12:17PM
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Agreed. While the majority of us fans have been patient and understand that this is a rebuild. The fact that this team has had little to no progress and in some cases (5x5) regressed, I believe is beginning to take its toll on the faithful. After more than two decades of following this team at a fanatical rate, I have never been so subdued or passionless over the Oilers. Management should pay, and I would hope that the Rexall faithful would let ownership know it, through volume or attendance.

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#41 Oilfan69
March 09 2013, 12:21PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

FIST......still not sure what that is.

Like I said before, except for offence, defence, and goaltending, we are pretty good.

This whole scenario with the Oilers is so utterly predictible and will continue to be so until Lowe and Tamby are replaced.

I wholeheartedly disagree , the coaching, pro scouting and management are at least as bad as off/def and tending.

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#42 50 in 39
March 09 2013, 12:23PM
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"it is a criticism of a management team that was picking out drapes while the house burned down."

I LOL'd

I can actually visualize Tambo doing this, with that stupid look he had on his face when he was outmatched by the remote control.

In all seriousness though, dismissal is warranted for the entire upper-management group. They got to make their calls and their ineptness and excessive optimism yielded this current joke of a team.

It is not funny for the fans and I am sure it is not funny for any of the players that care. (there is a few)

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#43 Mac962
March 09 2013, 12:24PM
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Dismissal ! All in favor please vote here ! The time has come they have failed over and over again. There is a core group of players here that we all know must stay, but several and perhaps a surprise or 2 need to be gone and perhaps a high round draft pick this year, and yes that may be a first round and perhaps the first overall pick.

Job Cooper Lindy Ruff Take your pick. Ralph is out of his league and needed a year or 2 yet as an assistant to learn this league.

I for one as many of you have never been more frustrated, actually damn right peed off and mad. Yeah , i am just a fan but dump all kinds of money into seats and merchandise. I need to be rewarded for my damn loyalty as do you guys. NOW.

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#45 MAC962
March 09 2013, 12:26PM
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UNTOUCHABLES. i will go first, feel free to add to the list.

1. Taylor Hall

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#47 mlcselli
March 09 2013, 12:33PM
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I think it obvious the problems are with the mgt team and clearly everyone needs to be replaced in order to have the team succeed. I think it's also obvious, and unfortunate that those changes won't come. Jonathon, if you are naming the successors for this group, who do we see going forward? I really don't think the problem with the on ice product has as much to do with Kruger and his system, and the players not buying in, or that the coach has lost the room (although I think there's some truth to it), as much as I think the players are sending a message to the Brass. There are injuries and players playing injured, no backup for the goalie.... They need players that are going too be effective brought in ASAP, and this team knows they need more. We are witnessing the train wreck and nobody seems to be embarrassed. The fans are furious.

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#48 Dutchscooter
March 09 2013, 12:37PM
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I think that time for action is nigh. We as fans have been spoonfed that it is a process, this rebuild, that everything takes time. And it does. However, this year, albeit a shortened year this was supposed to be THE YEAR that we begin to see improvement, the light at the end of the tunnel. Not playoffs, but improvement in the standings. Well, we are now one point out of 30th place and sinking fast. We seem to be getting WORSE, not better because three years ago when we were losing 10 in a row you could at least see that they were trying. Right now they are losing and the body language says they don't care regardless what they say. No passion, no heart.

So, I as a fan have been patient with the process. But it has always been said that the architect of a rebuild is rarely around to reap the benefits. I think it is time to fire the architects.

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#49 a lg dubl dubl
March 09 2013, 12:40PM
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blue31 wrote:

I think you have them all covered right there.

Id add Eberle and RNH to that list.

Id also be willing to trade Yakupov and this years 1st for Perry.

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